Sports Shorts for March 9

CATA girls soccer team off to hot start

After winning last season’s Class 1A state title, Central Academy of Technology & Arts girls soccer coach Jay Niessner began this season by telling his players what they could expect from their competition this spring.

“I said, ‘Look, ladies, it’s going to be a lot harder this year. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and you all have to be ready every single game – it doesn’t matter who we’re playing,’” Niessner recalled.

“That’s been our big focus – to kind of go one game at a time and take care of it one night at a time.”

It’s a valid point, considering the fact that the Cougars began the year as the top-ranked 1A team, according to eurosportscoreboard.com. But so far, despite the bump in prestige, the Cougars have opened the season well.

After going 3-1 (with three shutouts) in four preseason scrimmages, CATA has jumped out to a 2-0-1 start to the season. The Cougars opened the campaign with a 2-2 tie with Parkwood on Feb. 28 before topping last season’s 2A private-school champs, Davidson Day, 4-2, on March 1. Four days later, CATA exacted revenge on Parkwood (2-0 on March 5) to win its second consecutive game headed into its Rocky River 1A/2A conference opener, which was scheduled for March 7 at Forest Hills.

Niessner said that after a productive off-season, which included the players playing on an indoor soccer team together, the Cougars have done a good job of learning to succeed in the spotlight that accompanies a state title.

“That’s something we’ve had to learn to play with,” Niessner said. “We’ve been getting everybody’s best shot, and I think the girls are kind of realizing it doesn’t matter who we play or when we play for the rest of the season.”

Senior forward Laura Courtney has already netted four goals, while Sara Yang, Rachel DeCouto and Katie Kurtz have a goal apiece. Miranda Ritz and Alex Leitner have notched a pair of assists. Niessner also commended the play of goalkeeper Lindsey Kurtz, who already has collected 16 saves with one shutout.

Now, with league play beginning and a two-week stretch that includes games against West Stanly (Monday, March 12), Piedmont (Wednesday, March 14) and Cuthbertson (Monday, March 19), Niessner said he wants to see continued improvement, especially in the midfield – an area with several first-year starters.

“I don’t’ think we’re playing yet, in our first three games, to our full potential, which is a good thing,” said Niessner. “We’re just working the kinks out and just getting into the swing of the season now.

“If we can just get the midfield to gel with the rest of the group, I think we’re going to be in great shape.”

Warriors basketball players earn positions on All-Metrolina Athletic Conference squads

The Metrolina Athletic Conference recently announced its all-conference basketball players, and five Metrolina Christian athletes were recognized.

The boys all-conference team included three Warriors: Calvin Davis, Josh Dominguez and Tyrell Nelson.

Metrolina Christian’s Jordan Cook and Nora Logan earn spots on the All-MAC girls squad.

The rest of the boys team included Dionte Adams (Charlotte Northside Christian), David Airing (Matthews Covenant Day), Demitri Allison (Huntersville SouthLake Christian), Justin Ashford (Northside Christian), L.C. Cooks (Northside Christian), Dustin Dodd (Charlotte Hickory Grove), Justin Gordon (Northside Christian), Keith Griffin (Hickory Grove), Mark Vehaun (Rock Hill Westminster Catawba), Dante Simmons (Concord First Assembly) and Andrew Wheet (First Assembly).

Also making the girls All-MAC squad were Amanda Dobner (Hickory Grove), Kourtnie Hailey (SouthLake Christian), Shelbie Hall (Gaston Christian), Laura Beth Hite (Covenant Day), Paris Johnson (First Assembly), Megan Luke (Hickory Grove), Bri Mack (SouthLake Christian), Anna Melton (Covenant Day), Morgan Mosteller (Covenant Day), Goddess Steele (First Assembly), Giselle Verville (SouthLake Christian) and Zaria Wright (First Assembly).

Yes I Can offers spring basketball

Online enrollment has begun for the Yes I Can Basketball spring youth leagues and training academies.

Separate leagues are offered for boys and girls in various age groups. The popular basketball league combines professional teaching, competitive games, clean and safe gyms, all in a positive atmosphere at an affordable rate.
The training academies are two hours of high-energy drills and teaching designed for the player hungry to improve. Programs tip off on March 17.

For more information and to register, visit www.yesicanbasketball.com or call 704-442-1238.

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